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Study: Fish oil stifles greenhouse gas

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LONDON (Reuters) -- Fish oil could be the answer to stifling the release of the greenhouse gas methane from belching farm animals.

Belgian scientists found that adding fish oil to animal fodder could cut the release of methane by 25 to 40 percent in sheep without disrupting their normal digestion.

"The fish oil shows this very powerful suppression of methane from the animals, Veerle Fievez of Ghent University in Belgium, told New Scientist magazine.

About 22 percent of the global emission of methane is released through belching farm animals, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas because it traps nearly 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.

In addition to clearing the air, Fievez and her colleagues hope the fish oil may make the meat and other products from the animals healthier to eat.

They found that animals fed on the new diet have higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and other polyunsaturated fats that are thought to lower cholesterol.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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